Costa Rica Shoreline District
Costa Rica is a favorite international destination for surfing due to its easy ocean access and excellent surf conditions. It has some of the longest and most consistent waves anywhere. But it’s not just Costa Rica -- beach communities throughout Central America attract people from the cities of the region and from countries all over the world.
Many local residents are employed as service workers to provide food, lodging, and logistical support to tourists and transients. The party lifestyle abounds, and along with it abuse of the vulnerable and human trafficking.
The newest Free Methodist mission district in Latin America seeks to embody the transforming message of Jesus in beach communities throughout Central America. The focus is on making disciples and planting culturally relevant churches among a segment of the population that is often marginalized and overlooked.
Missionaries Dennis & Kyle Leon went to Esterillos, Costa Rica in 2009 with a vision to establish a network of churches along the Pacific coast. Dennis is the former national surfing champion of Costa Rica and had previously started a Free Methodist church in California. They began Pura Vida (Pure Life) Church in Esterillos as an organic New Testament community. Because of the number of expats and international tourists, the worship services are bilingual – in Spanish and English. After worship the congregation often walks out into the ocean for baptisms.
Following relational networks, churches have been started in neighboring Parrita and in the San Jose metropolitan area. Each has several home groups in other communities that have potential to become churches. The next targets for church planting are Quepos in Costa Rica and a beach community in Panamá.
Pastor Dennis and several other leaders in this new district are part of Christian Surfers International, which has chapters in most Latin American countries. The vision of CSI is to evangelize surfers, provide a bridge from the beach to the local church, and to engage Christian surfers in intentional mission. This provides a natural partnership for further church planting throughout the region.
In addition to the churches and home groups, there are two organized initiatives for holistic ministry. Vida Raiz (Life Root) is an organic garden that provides food and employment for needy people. Uno Mas (One More) offers tutoring and supplemental education for children as well as a computer center for adults in three different communities.
Pastor, Disctrict Leader & Missionary
Get to know the Shorline district